MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has regained supervision of the National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA).
President Rodrigo Duterte made the decision to revert the agencies to DA supervision during his meeting with NFA Council members on Monday, April 16.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement on Tuesday, April 17, that the 3 agencies "will be made attached agencies of the Department of Agriculture."
The NFA and PCA were among the agencies placed under the office of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr through Duterte's very first executive order.
It was by virtue of this EO that Evasco served as NFA Council chairman. It's not clear from Roque's statement if the new development means the Cabinet Secretary is deemed removed from the Council.
Then President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order 165 moving the NFA, PCA, and FPA from DA supervision to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, amid reports of corruption and mismanagement of the agencies under the DA.
NFA Council stays
Roque had also said that despite Duterte's initial wish to "abolish" the NFA Council, it "will not be abolished."
However, one Council member, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), "requested to be relieved from the council, so that it may focus on its other projects."
The request was approved and it was decided that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would take the DBP's place, said Roque.
After Duterte said he wanted to abolish the Council, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told the President that it could not be done without legislative action.
“It’s true the President mentioned that (NFA Council abolition) but after, he was approached by Secretary [Manuel] Piñol and Executive Secretary Medialdea who explained to me that, that it was agreed, he kind of shifted gears and said that the NFA must be put under the Office of the President,” Roque in Filipino in a previous interview.
The President then modified his order, saying that he wanted the NFA placed under the Office of the President, and for rice importation decisions to be made by the DA. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.